Faculty Advisor(s)

Paula Pate-Schloder



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Cardiac malignancies are tumors that develop in the heart; they are commonly asymptomatic, hard to locate and associated with a poor prognosis. The size and location of the tumor in the heart often play a role in the early or late discovery of the tumor. Cardiac malignancies can be either benign, such as cardiac myxoma or rhabdomyoma, or malignant, such as cardiac lymphoma or angiosarcoma. Fortunately, the advancement of imaging modalities—especially computed tomography—has improved early detection rates of cardiac tumors. Computed Tomography provides optimal spatial resolution for detection of malignancies and is typically more readily available than most modalities. Computed Tomography is typically less expensive than Magnetic Resonance and is more flexible to patients that are either claustrophobic or have contraindications for MRI such as a pacemaker. Computed Tomography also excels in showing how the heart is affected by the tumor and the type of tumor that may be present. Multi-detector computed tomography is typically preferred due to its exceptional detail and its ability to counter respiratory motion. The treatment of cardiac malignancies is often challenging due to the lack of evidence-based standards of care, however, the patient has some options. The patient may either undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy, surgical resection or heart transplantation for younger patients. Computed Tomography plays an important role by demonstrating the precise location of the tumor as well as how it is affecting the surrounding heart tissue: this helps the physician in planning chemotherapy as well as a surgical resection if needed.

Publication Date


Document Type



Medical Imaging


computed tomography, cardiac malignancies, treatment, heart


Medicine and Health Sciences

Computed Tomography of Cardiac Malignancies